February 26. 2024. 5:15

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Amsterdam presents new plan to tackle housing crisis

The Municipal Executive of Amsterdam presented a new proposed plan on Monday that aims to guarantee affordable housing and help lower and middle-income households in the city.

The Dutch housing crisis, plagued by a growing shortage of houses and rising homelessness, has not been spared by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine or the ongoing nitrogen crisis, which has made it difficult to obtain construction permits.

In Amsterdam, in particular, the situation has become very dire, as a shortage of about 10,000 to 15,000 apartments for ‘vulnerable groups’ has been predicted for 2030.

With its new proposed plan, however, Amsterdam aims to alleviate the housing shortage by facilitating house sharing, encouraging elderly people to transition from family apartments to retirement homes, and taking a harder stance regarding vacant housing units, NOS reports.

On top of its pledge to build more social housing, this should lead to the construction of about 7,500 apartments and an additional 2,500 temporary ones per year.

“A good, sustainable and affordable home is a basic necessity of life. But at the moment, far from all Amsterdam residents have good and affordable housing in our city. The solution lies primarily with existing homes. They must become affordable again, be of good quality and not be used as a business model. We are going to put an end to the latter with this approach”, stated Councilwoman Zita Pels, a member of the Dutch Green party responsible for housing.

“As a result [of the housing crisis], too many people are now in an illegal housing situation in our city”, she added.

The Amsterdam Approach to Public Housing (AAV), as the proposed plan is called, is a joint initiative by the city of Amsterdam, housing corporations, and citizens of Amsterdam. The dialogue between these partners led to citizens tabling about 1,000 recommendations which now form the basis for the draft plan.

“In the conversations, Amsterdam residents clearly expressed that the municipality should do more to increase the accessibility, affordability and sustainability of housing. I agree. With the insulation offensive to make homes more sustainable and this Amsterdam Approach to Public Housing, we are going to make great strides”, Pels said.

House construction in the Netherlands has slowed down over the past few years due to the nitrogen crisis the country is facing. To meet the EU’s Habitat Directive, the Dutch government announced its plans to slash nitrogen emissions by 50% by 2030 back in June of 2022, which has led to uncertainty concerning the construction of new housing units.

On Friday, the cabinet published its latest steps concerning reducing nitrogen emissions, especially targeting the largest nitrogen polluters.

(Benedikt Stöckl | EURACTIV.com)